My heart is resisting the urge to be anxious, awkward, and untimely. I’m doing my best to not take part in conclusion-jumping and analyzing. I’m pressing on, clinging to the fringes of peace, finding my only rest in Jesus.
My heart aches and grows in what you like to call the “Beautiful Tension”.
But above every other longing and desire, my heart is captivated and cries out for the One True Desire.
You, Jesus, are the desire of the nations.
You are what the hearts of men crave; what they’re even unknowingly reaching for day and night.
The prophecies are messing me up. Confirming the unimaginable. Stirring up that which daily battles the spirit of impatience and the urge to run outside the boundaries of perfect timing; foolishness. Instead, my heart runs for refuge in the secret place. A fort, I’ve built, to protect the inner-workings of my heart.
“Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life” – Proverbs 4:23
The overflow of the guarded heart is life.
I’ve always pushed that verse aside imagining that those who guard their hearts are those that are guarded. I likened the guarded to being the hardened heart; letting no one in, letting nothing out.
I’ve always been sensitive, transparent, and vulnerable, as if I have this huge double door at the entrance of my heart swinging freely, inviting the brokenhearted, willing to reveal the stories behind the healed wounds in hopes of their own healing and restoration. My heart sings “He makes all things new” over dry ground and weary hearts.
I’ve learned all too well the amount of hurt and pain that comes from opening your heart. I can’t count the number of days that I thought how much easier it would be if I could just “toughen up”. Especially in the last two years, I’ve thought that if I could just be “thick skinned” I could live normally in the oppressive environment for years on end.
I knew a heart that was guarded, that was dead and lifeless. I knew a heart that felt no love and gave no love. I learned that a hurting heart, hurts hearts.
How terrible it is to imagine “living” like that. That’s no life at all. What a painful existence.
The beauty of life is the exchange of love; the overflow of passion. I couldn’t imagine the thought of guarding my heart and robbing myself of life, no matter what the cost.
My heart has grown in ways I’ve only ever dreamed. And with that growth comes a fierce protection to guard and preserve the treasure being cultivated in a process of adoration and surrender; an environment of love.
I started to understand that guarding my heart didn’t mean keeping it on lock-down only to result in a hardened, dying heart, but protecting that which gives me life.
You give me life.
Instead, I guard the greatest passion of my heart. I secure my greatest desire. I keep safe the inner courts – the depths – of my heart that cry out for the heart of Jesus, and Jesus alone. I defend my heart from anything that seeks to exalt itself above the name of Jesus. I create an offensive harbor against any competing passion wishing to dwell in these inner courts.
What a beautiful thing Jesus is doing in us. What a treasure we need to protect to insure it’s proper growth. I think of the tender plants that grow in a green house. The ordinary elements are too harsh for them to flourish as intended. These plants are then kept safe in a specific, and unique environment, guarded against the damage the external world would cause. Like a green house, our guarded hearts still have a door, but just like you wouldn’t leave the green house door open and allow the winter temperatures to invade the controlled atmosphere, we also wouldn’t leave the doors of our hearts open to public traffic.
We open the doors of our heart purposefully, and we close the doors of our hearts purposefully.
“(you) have clothed yourselves with the new (spiritual self), which is (ever in the process of being) renewed and remolded into (fuller and more perfect knowledge upon) knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him who created it.” – Colossians 3:10
Those of us in Jesus are ever-growing, ever-changing, ever-creating. It’s in His nature; it’s in our nature. It’s important that we guard His work in the depths of our hearts against the competing passions of this world, creating an environment that causes the fruit of His spirit to flourish in us and overflow from us.
“And God’s peace (shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot whatever sort that is, that peace) which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” – Philippians 4:7
Garrison; a permanently established fort. This fort of peace will guard our hearts in this process of constant growth in Jesus.
Most days this comes easy. I’ll just sit down, start typing, and before I know it, I’ve written and re-read a thousand words. As if the screen in front of me is really just a mirror to the inside of my heart and what I’m learning these days. But tonight I feel as if I’m scraping the bottom of the (crunchy!) peanut butter jar, hoping to scoop out the last bits before I open up a brand new – FULL – jar. And it could be that I have a heart of a six year old, but I still think it’s the most privileged thing to have the very first knife-full out of the peanut butter jar…
This wasn’t very organized, it’s messy, but colorful and passionate. I know you make sense of it all…
I’m trying to put it all together. Trying to keep it together. You say to be patient, you say that it’s a process, that this rapid-fire growth is because of the things He has planned. I say I can’t wait, but for Your peace – my fort of refuge – that guards my heart in You…
The late night is irrelevant, my spirit never sleeps.